Although generalized anxiety is a subtype, feeling anxiety is usually a symptom rather than a disorder on its own. People with PTSD or OCD are particularly at risk, although most mood disorders feature anxiety as well.

Panic disorder and social anxiety are the two main conditions that feature anxiety most prominently. It is common for addicts to experience anxiety related to their behaviors, so it’s recommended to talk to a psychiatrist and assess whether a dual diagnosis is appropriate.

When Does Anxiety Become a Disorder?

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, anxiety disorders are about more than transient worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and gets worse over time. Abnormal persistence of this anxiety is what differentiates normal human reaction to life and a diagnosable mood disorder. When these feelings interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships, it might be time to see a professional. This is particularly true when anxiety fuels a drug addiction.

Symptoms of Anxiety

If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety, it is important most of all to remember that only a licensed psychiatrist can make an official diagnosis. Since New Start firmly believes in getting dual diagnosis addicts the help they need, we partner with a local psychiatric group to offer clients professional psychological evaluations. Getting addiction treatment and appropriate psych meds simultaneously could be the 180 degree turn you or your loved one needs to start their recovery.

Mental / Emotional


Intense worrying

Trouble focusing

Panics easily

Excessive fear

Excessive worry

Inability to concentrate


Muscle tension


Uncontrollable fidgeting

Dry mouth

Cold, numb, or tingling extremities

Abnormal sweating


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of American adults have an anxiety disorder

Women are

2 times

as likely to be afflicted than men

2 out of 3

adults with anxiety don’t get treatment

Subtype Cases

Although some symptoms are universal to the disorder, there are distinct subtypes of anxiety that may impact what that person’s addiction looks like.

Panic disorder is a severe form of anxiety where the fear actually sends the body into a defensive state of emergency. Real panic attacks are not just people being over dramatic or seeking attention. Similar to how seizures take over the body unwillingly, panic attacks are debilitating and cause the person’s mind to race rapidly out of control. Physical symptoms of panic attacks include heart racing, sweating, nausea, hyperactive breathing, and other pains/involuntary movements.

Social anxiety is an overwhelming fear of interaction with other people. This is not just a casual “I don’t really want to” feeling. It’s a fear that’s paralyzing and creates physical symptoms of sickness. People with social anxiety are more likely to isolate, so their substance abuse may fly under the radar. 

Anxiety is a symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

More About OCD

Almost all individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder experience anxiety.

More About PTSD

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